Cannes 2015: The Measure Of A Man Review - Dull And Repetitive

A long take doesn't make a boring scene interesting.

Rating: ˜…˜… Ponderous and obvious, The Measure Of A Man is the shortest film In Competition at Cannes, yet feels the most drawn out and unnecessary of the lot. This is the low-bar for Cannes 2015 (yes, it's even more irredeemable than critic hate-object The Sea Of Trees), recommendable only to those who find joy in tedium. The film is a series of scenes where Vincent Lindon's Thierry talks to people about work, selling a caravan, getting a loan or other things related to money. The vague plot sees him go from redundant factory worker to supermarket security guard, facing his own morality in the process; you could say he's discovering the measure of a man. You could also say this is a head-bangingly dull movie full of nothing. Stephane Brize appears to be enamoured with long takes where the camera just kinda hangs about as if the operator forgot to stop filming. Shots that run for minutes at a time are all the rage now, but when digital filmmaking reduces the feat itself to hitting play, something more needs to be done - see Birdman, Gravity or TV's True Detective, which are variously well blocked and edited. Here, the lengthy takes do very little; it shows that Lindon can keep in dreary character for a long period of time, but there's no accentuation to the drama. They're also sloppily realised, with out-of-place cuts repeatedly failing to stitch together two clearly separate shots. Lindon is fair in the role - reserved, but through scenes with his family (he has a son with special needs, who thankfully isn't exploited for extra pathos) shown to be more than a working schlub. Still, he rarely feels an engaging or captivating presence; good acting should be able to shine through sloppy direction and while he doesn't get fully dragged down by the painful long shots, it's not enough to warrant any "best of the fest" talk. The film isn't a total bore. There's a dry comedic undercurrent to several scenes that stops you teeth-grinding long enough to illicit a chuckle. A scene assessing Thierry's interview technique, where a panel take down every single element of his personality and gait humorously encapsulates his problems. Of course, this is really a footnote on the film and not enough to inject any interest. Keep up with all of our Cannes 2015 coverage on the official page here.

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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.